"Making a strong case for the importance of theory in social science, the author argues that theories on the family would assist understanding across cultural contexts and variations."
—Savithri Subramanian, CONTRIBUTIONS TO INDIAN SOCIOLOGY
"A perfect companion text for graduate courses on family theories. It is refreshing to have a single author pull no punches in articulating a viewpoint on where we have gone astray in family theory and how we can find our way again. Jim White has accomplished the nearly impossible mission of being informative, balanced, clear, and provocative at the same time."-William J. Doherty, University of Minnesota
"Professor White has written a 'must-read' book for anyone interested in family theory. This well-written and timely text . . . tackles difficult topics head on, offering pragmatic solutions and nicely nuanced insights. Advancing Family Theories is exactly the sort of book that lends itself well to both the classroom and more specialized theoretical and empirical work."
-Jay Teachman, Western Washington University
How can the study of families be scientific? What is the difference between postmodern and positivistic approaches? What is the role of models and metaphors in constructing our theoretical knowledge? In Advancing Family Theories, author James M. White addresses such difficult questions that have been longstanding issues within the field of family studies and examines these matters from a social science perspective.
Advancing Family Theories explores two contemporary theories of the family-rational choice theory and transition theory. These diametrically different approaches illuminate what differing theories reveal about families. The book also discusses how meta-theories can assist in building and refining theory and offers insight on the "understanding versus explanation" debate. Advancing Family Theories gives students a precise notion of what a theory is and how theories work in research. The book not only looks at philosophical realms but also examines particular substantive theory to explain and predict family behaviors.
- Uses a theme of "models and metaphors" to unite what often seems to be conflicting approaches to theory and context
- Allows readers to view differing research as theoretical and complementary rather than competitive and exclusive
- Shows how to develop thesis research questions and how to identify theory relevant to substantive research interests
Advancing Family Theories is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on family theory, research, and methods. It is an excellent supplement to Family Theories, Third Edition (SAGE, 2008), or is effective on its own. The book helps students with the task of taking abstract and very general theories and reducing them to a level of specific research models and hypotheses.